Archive for ‘The Chirps of Other Wordbirds’

June 11th, 2010

The Chirps of Other Wordbirds

by Madeleine Rex

I’ve been gone so long that all my readers must:

  1. Really miss me
  2. Really hate me
  3. Have forgotten me

No matter how you feel or what you’ve forgotten, I am back, if temporarily, with The Chirps of Other Wordbirds, my weekly collection of the fabulous posts I’ve read recently. Most, if not all, are writing/publishing related, and I can assure you that every one is a gem!

First off: I’m sorry. Next week is my last week of Middle School (this is the best sentence ever), and I’ve been busier than usual lately. I haven’t neglected my blog for this long since last year, at which time I shouldn’t have been deemed a blogger. I’m hoping this upcoming week is more prosperous, but, if not, I’ll be back after the 18th!

The Greatness this Week:

The Post: Nathan Bransford, aka Mr. Literary Agent Celebrity, posted about his psychic agent-powers that have told him The Rejection Letter of the Future Will Be Silence. I find this idea incredibly interesting, and Nathan’s thoughts on the incredible nature of publishing in the digital era are well-put.

The Quote:

No one sits around thinking, “You know what the problem with the Internet is? Too many web pages.” Would you even notice if suddenly there were a million more sites on the Internet? How would you even know? We all benefit from the seemingly infinite scope of the Internet and we’ve devised a means of navigating the greatest concentration of information and knowledge the world has ever seen.

So what’s the big deal if a few hundred thousand more books hit the digital stores every year? We will find a way to find the books we want to read, just as surely as we’re able to find the restaurants we eat at and the movies we want to see and the shoes we want to buy out of the many, many available options.

The Post: One of the most discussed topics of the year is the digital publishing revolution. Eric at Pimp My Novel has an interesting take on not just e-books, but on the death of particular publishing formats, particularly audio books and large print.

The Quote:

As we progress further into the Most Glorious Digital Age, mes auteurs, I can’t help but feel that some book formats and practices are going to be made obsolete. Now, before anyone gets started with “Kindle-this” and “iPad-that,” I’m not suggesting that 1.) these changes will render print books in general obsolete, or 2.) these changes will be specific to any one e-reader, company, or file format.

They are as follows: large print and audio books (as they currently exist) are goners.

The Post: Titles catch my eye. Book covers catch my eye. These are the things that make books pretty and shiny and appealing. As a writer, I love titles. Occasionally, I come up with titles before even a fragment of an idea presents itself. Eric (again) posted about the crucial nature of titles and why it’s important to get them right in A Rose by Any Other Name. (Plus, he gives tips!)

The Quote:

Sad but true, author-amigos: sometimes the title you pick for your book is terrible.

Sometimes an author selects a title that simply doesn’t work for his or her genre (e.g. titling a romance Guns and Bros and Explosions). Occasionally an author unwittingly (or worse, wittingly) gives his or her book a title that’s uncomfortably similar to the title of a very different, much more widely known work (e.g. naming a memoir about directing a summer camp for disabled youth in Germany Mein Kamp).

The Post: Kathleen at GotYA posted “I am not Margo… Or John Green,” a post in which she ogles over Paper Towns (review forthcoming here at Wordbird… hopefully) and talks about how, as readers and writers, we’re destined to find authors we want to kill but hug before we do so. They’re too good to be true. Worse yet, their general awesomeness is about ten times what you imagine you could ever achieve. (And I actually said something to that effect to Miranda the other day, and, coincidentally, I was talking about John Green, too.)

The Quote:

It’s not that I don’t love John Green. If anything, I love him too much. You see, John Green is the author who makes me want to fall to my knees and cry, “I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!”

I have this theory that everyone has an author like that—even if they haven’t come across them yet.

You know that line in “Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen” where the narrators says, “The race is long; in the end, it’s only against yourself.” I believe that line. I really do. Almost all of the time. I suspect there are a few published writers that I’m better than and lots of published writers who leave me in the dust. That doesn’t bother me. But when I read John Green, there are moments when I stop and think that I’m just not worthy to practice the same craft.

The Post: Take Advantage of the Morning, folks! Sarah Enni published a very true post on how important it is to wake up in the morning, free of the troubles of life, and squeeze out a few words. I’ve been writing 500 words in the morning for months, and believe me, those words are precious.

The Quote:

It doesn’t matter what you write down: dreams; conversations from real life or imagined ones; events of the day before — anything at all. “Your primary purpose now is not to bring forth deathless words, but to write any words at all which are not pure nonsense,” Brande writes. Anything your brain comes up with before it is exposed to the daily deluge of external influence.

Have a great weekend!

June 4th, 2010

The Chirps of Other Wordbirds

by Madeleine Rex

This is week three of The Chirps of Other Wordbirds! If you’d like to see the older posts, because greatness in the blogosphere is always great, click here and here.

I’ve been hording posts all week. It’s so wonderful to shine the spotlight on blogs that are changing my writing and/or reading experience! If you have any post recommendations from this week or any other, leave a link in a comment!

The Post: Elana Johnson wrote a wonderful post on character motivation. It’s short and sweet, and I definitely recommend reading it.

The Quote:

When you lie awake at night, what’s missing?

The Post: Eric over at Pimp My Novel speaks about trends in general, but more specifically, The [Your Name Here]’s Daughter trend. He makes many great points because, really, aren’t you sick of this?

The Quote:

· Vampires/Werewolves. Archetype: Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. No, really. Authors who have already established themselves as brands with this subject, like Meyer or Charlaine Harris, can pretty much continue to write vampire novels until the turn of the century. You, who are just starting out, do not have this luxury. Vampires and werewolves will always be cool, but they won’t be as cool as they are now for a long time. Putting werewolves in space or making vampires fallen angels will not increase their coolness. Trust me.

The Post: Over at QueryTracker.net, Suzette Saxton talks about what to do when you’re weary. This writing thing can hit you hard and leave you wheezing. How do you get your courage and strength back? I, for one, just work at it. Occasionally, however, I take a day off, skip those 2,000 words, and hunker down for a day of homework and nothing else. Sounds nice, actually…

The Quote:

Every writer has them, those difficult times when we just can’t send out another query, just can’t take another rejection. I’ve heard this referred to as “on the ledge,” meaning one step away from jumping off the writing cliff forever. This post is to offer a place of solace – and a list of places to go when seeking surcease from the writing demons that plague us all.

The Post: Speaking of when you’re weary, Rachelle Gardner published an inspirational and cheering post entitled You Have to Believe (don’t you feel happier already)? We so often get the blunt, hard truths of the publishing industry, but what about the blunt, soft and pleasant truths?

The Quote:

Be grateful that you’ve been given the passion and ability to write.

Be overwhelmed with thankfulness that millions of people love to read, and you love to write.

The Post: First of all, how can you resist a post called Writing a Spiderweb? Cristin Terrill’s post on the necessary absences in writing, the holes you must leave for the reader to fill in, is extremely helpful and incredibly truthful. Every writer should read this. As writers, we want to give characters every moment in the spotlight possible, but sometimes, it’s the reader’s job to be imaginative.

The Quote:

As a writer, I’m not an auteur, dictating an experience.  What I really am is a collaborator with my reader, which means I have to leave them some blank spaces to do their share of the work.  I thought I was helping by including every little thing I knew about my characters and how they related to each other, but really I was overloading my readers and depriving them of the part of the process that is and should be theirs.

The above posts are fabulous. I learned so much from all of them. They reminded me why I have 12 blog-related emails to read every morning when I wake up.

I know that I said I’d post about chemistry today, but I suppose that post is coming Monday because I’ve got Wannabe Writers and a book review on docket. I wish you sunshine (or at least more sunshine than we have here) and a wonderful weekend!

May 28th, 2010

The Chirps of Other Wordbirds

by Madeleine Rex

Last week, I attempted my very first COOW (pronounced coo) post, in which I gathered my favorite posts of the week and their teasers. This week has been equally eventful and epic (is it possible to be equally epic?), and the following posts really struck me!

The Post: In What Flo Taught Me About Chemistry, Sarah Enni talks about how “Flo and the Motorcycle Dude” are a great example of fabulous chemistry between characters. And, honestly, who can not love a blog post that expertly combines writing and Flo?

The Quote:

Real-life couples have odd chemistry. So do our favorite fictional couples: The so-opposite-they’re-great Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy; the bizarre quirks that make Harry perfect for Sally; the passion that connects Claire Beauchamp and James Frasier through time.

The Post: Steph Bowe is arguably the driving force (online, at least) in the world of YA YA literature, as in young adults in the business of writing YA novels (such as myself). This week, she posted some uplifting and enlightening (two admirable qualities) tips for kids like me.

The Quote:

1. Don’t listen to a negative word anyone says. (With the exception of constructive criticism, obviously, you’ll figure out how to differentiate that from people being just plain nasty.) People will tell you that because you are young you can’t write because a) you have no life experience (as far as I’m concerned, you can have the busiest, most exotic life in the world and it doesn’t necessarily make you a good writer), b) because they couldn’t write as teenagers and c) because you should be studying to get into a good university/job or, if you’re a girl and have particularly old-fashioned acquaintaces, because you should be prettying yourself up to try and wrangle a husband. Because obviously that’s on the mind of all 16-year-olds. These people who say negative things? They aren’t going to stop when you get a book deal. If you get published as a teenager, it’ll probably get worse. Which is why you need to decide right now that what they say doesn’t matter – you know that anyone at any age can become a great writer, and they’re just jealous of your motivation.

The Post: I am simply blown away by Kiersten White. I cannot wait to read her debut novel, Paranormalcy. Luckily, I get a taste of her writing (though only a nibble) every day from her blog. This week, I loved her post, Reality. If editing’s got you blue, read this post. Remember why you’re wasting away in front of a computer screen in your pajamas. The reality in this post is the dream so many of us are working toward.

The Quote:

I know I’m living a dream (mine, and probably many of yours) and it’s incredible. It’s a buttload of work (and I never use the phrase buttload lightly), it’s exhausting, it can be very stressful, but when you get right down to the heart of it, it’s the best possible reality I could imagine.
And that’s saying a lot.
The Post: Carrie Ryan, author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves, posted a brief overview of the book writing/publishing process. From step one, when the author works on his or her own, to step ten, when the books are printed, shipped, and (hopefully) sold to the like mad.
The Quote:

Step seven: typesetting.  The manuscript is sent to be type set which is the point at which it starts to look like a book.  Sometime before this point all the aspects of the typesetting have already been chosen and designed (what font, the layout of the pages, any chapter headers or symbols between sections).  One thing I never realized is that new errors can be introduced at this stage so if you find a typo in a book, sometimes this is where it happens.

I am aware that many of the blogs mentioned here were mentioned last week.

Do you get the picture this time?

Those. Blogs. Rock.

Let us hope that next week will be another great one in the blogosphere, but, in the meantime, I have book reviews to write.

This is Madeleine, signing off.

(P.S. Have a fantastic Memorial Day weekend.)